The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) has approved a loan of around US$30 million to the Government of the Republic of Cuba to help build 34 small hydropower projects in the country – its first investment in the Cuban energy sector.

The projects will be built at existing dams and are expected to have a total capacity of 14.6MW. Work on the schemes will include supply, construction and installation of three linking substations with all associated equipment, including of about 75 km of 34.5 & 13.8kV distribution lines. About 10 km of access roads will also be developed for access to the small hydro sites.

The new funds will be used to procure construction and maintenance vehicles, construction equipment, maintenance equipment and spare parts related to the project, as well as the supply of equipment for small hydraulic turbines, together with spare parts and materials. It will be used towards consulting services for the schemes detailed designs, preparation of tender documents and supervision of construction.

Some of the funding will also be used for the expansion of scientific training research centers and universities in a bid to enhance the development of the hydropower sector in the country.

All 34 projects are to be developed over the next seven years. The funds from KFAED will cover around 40% of the total project costs, with the Cuban Government to fund the remaining 60%.